HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With only about a month left until the general election, gubernatorial hopefuls Neil Abercrombie, Duke Aiona and Thomas Pollard spent Sunday fielding questions about education and other issues affecting Hawaii's keiki.
Parents, child care providers, members of social service organizations and others packed into the State Capitol Auditorium. One Voice for Hawaii's Children, the group that hosted the forum, says the state needs to develop a comprehensive, equitable and funded early childhood system that gives all kids the opportunity to succeed.
The candidates shared their thoughts on preschool subsidies, early intervention services, child abuse prevention, and age requirements for Kindergarteners.
"We need to invest in the future," Democratic candidate Abercrombie said. "For the past eight years, we've had one excuse after another as to why we can't do that. If we're going to invest in the future, then we need to maximize the resources."
"Every single one of us is responsible for what's happening," Republican candidate Aiona said. "Now we have invested heavily in regards to prevention and being proactive in this state, and that's what we need to continue to do."
"Whatever the government spends, it comes from us, so we have to figure out a way to do it," Pollard, the nonpartisan candidate, said. "I agree with the private partnership and those sorts of things, and pairing government with the private partners."
The candidates talked about the use of federal monies, and the importance of fathers being involved with their children.
Event organizers asked members of the public to sign a petition making education and childhood success top priorities for the state.